Wednesday, September 23, 2009

She sounds like she lived this

I have been listening to Whitney Houston's new CD, I Look to You. She's back and I'm glad.

Her voice is deeper than I remembered, but still lush and gorgeous. She doesn't hold notes forever and ever like she did on songs like "I-ee-I-ee-I Will Always Love You," but that's OK because that showboating annoyed me. Her performances here seem more real and tempered, even enhanced, by what she's been through. For example, here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs on the CD, "Nothin' But Love:"

I could hold on to pain but that ain't what my life's about
I ain't blaming nobody if I ain't got my stuff worked out
I got love for my self, ain't gonna regret anything I've done

I just wanna sing my song, ain't got nothin but love

Or how about "I Didn't Know My Own Strength:"

I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble

I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour

My faith kept me alive

I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high

I was not built to break

I didn’t know my own strength

I recall an interview with Margaret Mitchell in which she said Gone with the Wind is really about who survives and who doesn't. It's an interesting question: who is "built to break" and who isn't? Ms. Mitchell believed that Ashley was not a survivor, nor Scarlett's father, Gerald. Yet even though their styles were very different, Scarlett, Rhett and Melanie all had enough intestinal fortitude to make it no matter what. (After all, it wasn't war or hunger or deprivation that brought Melanie down, it was that her body just quit on her.)

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. To me, she seemed the perfect feminist cautionary tale -- "Look what happens when you live for men!" I still admire her beauty and talent, but I've outgrown her when it comes to heroines. The ladies I look up to now are the ones who weren't "built to break."

That's why I'm enjoying this CD so much. Whitney sounds like she's been to hell but she's learned from it and ain't going back.

Feeling kinda creepy

This is one of those posts where I share an unpleasant truth about myself.

Yesterday afternoon, while riding the el home, I had a very, very drunk boy as my seatmate. He smelled like booze and stale cigarette smoke. No, he REEKED of booze and stale cigarette smoke. He kept weaving and sliding in his sleep and often leaned into me. I COULD NOT STAND IT, so I woke him up so I could change my seat. I hoped I didn't hurt his feelings, but I COULD NOT STAND IT.

The part I felt bad about is this: I get off at one stop before the end of the line. I should have awakened him before I exited the train, just to make sure he got home safe. I didn't. I don't know why I didn't ... I think it's because I was so physically creeped out about myself.

This morning, while riding the el to work, I was near an entire smelly family. Mom, Dad and Baby. Sweat and cigarettes mixed with urine wafted my way. They were alert and chatting among themselves. Dad wore a lanyard and badge that showed he was an official vendor of Streetwise, the newspaper sold by Chicago's homeless. So I know they were industrious and probably doing the best they could to keep it together. Yet when I saw the pack of Newports in Mom's pocket, I wanted to yell, "Instead of cigarettes, why not buy SOAP?" But I just got up and stood by the door.

These people are my neighbors. I shouldn't be so judgemental. I am not proud of myself right now. But I want my blog to be an accurate portrait of myself at this point in my life, and this is part of who I am. (Unfortunately.)

Originally viewed over at Kwizgiver's

You Are North

Like a Viking, you are assertive, decisive, and dominant. You seek power and destroy those in your way.

People admire that you are so confident and independent. You seem to have the world figured out.

Sometimes you come across as pushy and aggressive... not that you mind! You like being seen as tough.

You make a fairly good leader, especially in times that require grit and ruthlessness. You are a warrior.